The gatekeeper for Illian stood shuffling his feet nervously.
The members of the Council of Nine stared down at him, some with barely concealed disdain.
'The glint of the sun off weapons and dust thrown up by an army marching on Illian, eh?' Gregorin den Lushenos, Speaker of the Council of Nine, said with a flat tone. 'Last time you saw...'
Gregorin speaking looked at a note before him and continued '"pink lizards with wings breathing fire."'
'But my Lord, I know what I saw! A dust cloud like that can only be thrown up by a large amount of movement. There's an army marching for Illian. We should prepare! Double the watch, close the river gate, check the walls, inspect all vessels docking in port...'
'And damage our trade?' one of the other members of the Council thundered. He was met with quiet murmurs from the attending members of the Assemblage, who focussed on matters pertaining to trade.
'We ship goods north via river and merchant trains. We receive goods in port ranging from Sharan silk to Andoran steel. We cannot hamper trade, or the captains will start bringing their goods to Tear, or other ports.'
Again there were murmurs of agreement.
'The matter is closed. First Captain, take this man outside,' Gregorin den Lushenos said.
Demetre Marcolin grabbed the gatekeeper by the elbow and marched him out of the Council chambers. They quietly walked the halls of the Great Hall of the Council, until they reached the Square of Tammuz. They didn't stop walking until they reached Demetre's office, the gatekeeper quietly letting himself be lead along. He was expecting to be relieved of his duty.
'Now,' Demetre said, after closing the door behind him. 'I want you to alert all the gateguards, the other gatekeepers and those manning the lookout towers.'
'But sir, you believe me?' the gatekeeper looked up, incredulously.
Demetre barked a laugh.
'I didn't become First Captain by only thinking of trade. If you saw what you saw, a large force is on the move, and we had best be prepared in case it is headed for us. In case it is, I will send out scouts and double the guard where the road exits the swamps and enters the city.'
The gatekeeper smiled with relief. Between him and the First Captain, they would ensure the city would not fall.
Some time this weekend, when Lightside has sufficient numbers, something many of you will find interesting will go down.